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Intel's GN40 for Atom Does 1080P, But Not Blu-ray

The Intel Atom isn’t a powerhouse processor – this we know and accept. But its multimedia capabilities could be helped with video acceleration, which is where Nvidia hopes to jump in with its Ion chipset. But not so fast, says Intel!

Intel last month announced that it started shipping the Atom N280 CPU and GN40 chipset, which adds some light video acceleration for high-definition video playback.

At the time of release, Intel said that its GN40 chips would handle 720P video playback – something that’s not possible on the currently popular 945GSE. Perhaps feeling a little bit more ambitious, an Intel representative insisted to websites that the GN40 is actually capable of 1080P video.

Intel came back to clarify this claim, now adding that the 1080P video that the GN40 would be able to decode wouldn’t be of Blu-ray quality. The official quote, as noted on Fudzilla, reads, “GN40 is designed to do 1080P HD playback for typical broadband internet content; it is not designed to enable full Blu-ray capability where the bitrates and demands of multi-layer content are significantly higher than that of internet HD content.”

Of course, we’re not likely to see Blu-ray drives paired with netbooks or even modest nettops, but it does confirm that the only type of HD that the GN40 can process with full confidence is 720P.

Meanwhile, Nvidia’s Ion is just chomping at the bit to bring 1080P to the Atom platform.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • gwolfman
    Which codecs are accelerated?
    Reply
  • jacobdrj
    BluRay is a lot closer to what I felt DVDs should have been in the 1st place. They are still to bulky, and way to delicate. Flash memory is the way to go, and many 'netbooks' have multiple SD card readers, USB ports, and the like. All they need are 10" screens with HD resolution, and you have yourself a better media device than any that existed before (including possible OTA reception, WIFI, etc). If Atom can be boosted to be able to do these things, AWESOME. Just make sure it doesn't make the netbooks so expensive as to not be worth it.
    Reply
  • SneakySnake
    cough *nvidia ion kicks ass* cough
    Reply
  • Tekkamanraiden
    jacobdrjBluRay is a lot closer to what I felt DVDs should have been in the 1st place. They are still to bulky, and way to delicate. Flash memory is the way to go, and many 'netbooks' have multiple SD card readers, USB ports, and the like. All they need are 10" screens with HD resolution, and you have yourself a better media device than any that existed before (including possible OTA reception, WIFI, etc). If Atom can be boosted to be able to do these things, AWESOME. Just make sure it doesn't make the netbooks so expensive as to not be worth it.
    Alright you are aware that DVD was originally released in 1995 and took until 2002 to become mostly main stream.
    Reply
  • Blessedman
    hehe 10" with HD, do you know what kind of expense that would be to have an LCD with a DPI that high?
    Reply
  • megamanx00
    Soooo... this GN40 is still crappier than ATI 3000 series or NVIDIA 9000 series integrated graphics which have both been out for some time now. Yeah, big surprise. If you want HD with an Atom you have to go with the NVIDIA ION platform. If Intel succeeds in locking them out, as they are currently trying to do in court, leaving vendors with an Intel only option on the ION, then you may start seeing VIA CPUs with future ION setups.
    Reply
  • megamanx00
    * Intel only option on the ION

    I meant Intel only option on the Atom

    :D
    Reply
  • jacobdrj
    TekkamanraidenAlright you are aware that DVD was originally released in 1995 and took until 2002 to become mostly main stream.Yes. I was dissapointed then, as LaserDisk was superior in quality, and VHS didn't have as many compatibility and duribility issues at that point. Since DVD was never intended to be portable, they should have just gone for a bigger form factor. I don't mean to suggest VHS was perfect, but to this day, I avoid DVDs because of their poor visual quality an sensitivity. Digital copies on flash drives are far more palpable.
    BluRay is the 1st device where I can acualy not detect pixilation easily (other than analouge). Pixilation bothers me more than blurryness.
    DVDs as a storage medium is also bad. Even with so calle 'high quality' meda, the disks produced at home are rarely compatible universally and often corrupt after a short time. Flash drives write more quickly, with more stability. VHS was more stable than DVD-R/RW/+R/RAM etc... DVDs are far more volitile than even CD-R's, which have a much better shelf life.
    DVDs are a technological failure, and one I am glad we are moving away from. It has caused me little but frustration since it came out.
    Reply
  • jacobdrj
    Blessedmanhehe 10" with HD, do you know what kind of expense that would be to have an LCD
    with a DPI that high?You would think it is unreasonable, but with OLED, I could see it hapening. I would be happy if they would go to 1024x800, as 600 is just about 150 pixels too short to have 2 pages of MS Word side by side.
    Reply
  • pharge
    Watching 1080p on a 8-10" LCD sounds crazy to me (It will be hard for us to tell the difference between 1080p and 720p on an 8-10" LCD). However having the ability to output 1080p to our TV or LCD monitor with our netbook/nettop sounds very tempting.
    Reply